Thanks to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Envisat satellite, scientists have developed a new biomass map of the Northern Hemisphere with the best resolution to date, with 1 pixel for each kilometer on the ground. Envisat was an Earth observation satellite launched in 2002 with two key instruments: the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) and the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) with the mission of collecting various data as well as taking radar images. To build up this new biomass map scientists compiled more than 70.000 radar images dated from October 2009 to February 2011. “Combining a large number of radar data sets" said Maurizio Santoro from Gamma Remote Sensing in an article on the ESA website "yields a greater sensitivity and gives more accurate information on what’s below the forest canopy." The map covers the entire biomass of forests in the Northern Hemisphere, which provide spectacular carbon stores. Better maps on biomass measurements will help scientists to improve their understanding of the carbon cycle and even predict the future of Earth’s climate.
Envisat data processed for the most accurate biomass map of the Northern Hemisphere